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If running a sump based system (I am) - the majority of the arguments at the site are not applicable...

Canopies that are not constructed properly can warp.. Glass lids aid in keeping most of the moisture off of the canopy...

Canopies on a 6' tank are practically impossible to remove by yourself...
 

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In my opinion you absolutely need a glass lid. If you want to put a canopy on top of the glass lid, that will make the tank look more like a piece of furniture, and is generally a good idea. But first and foremost, you need a glass lid. A canopy without a glass lid is simply bad news.

Why do you need a glass lid? A glass lid reduces evaporation. Evaporation cools the tank down, and by reducing it you save heating costs. With a glass lid, almost all water that evaporates from the tank condenses on the glass lid, and drops right back into the tank. That's the way you want it to be. Removing water from the tank should occur through regular water changes, because water changes do not only remove water, they remove all harmful compounds in the water with it. Evaporation removes only clean water, and wastes energy.

If you have a canopy on an open tank, that canopy will be exposed to excessive moisture, and no wooden canopy will withstand that for long. I should post pictures of the stand of my 240G, where I neglected to close the sumps. There has never been condensation on the wood, because I have good air circulation going through the cabinet, but the wood has darkened on the outside under the varnish, and my wife keeps bugging me daily to do something about it. Next time I set up a tank like that, I'll have glass lids not only on the tank, but also on the sump!

Excessive moisture in a canopy is also bad news for any electrics, like the lights. Corrosion will be phenomenal. Plus if the fish splash, you can get water on the lamps. Those that get hot can break instantly when splashed with cold water, and without a glass lid, the debris will end up in your tank. Even lights that don't get so hot will have a reduced lifespan when exposed to splash-water or condensation-water.

Last but not least, glass lids prevent jumpers. If you have a canopy without glass lids, be prepared to find fish on any horizontal surface within the canopy, such as the lamps. Only with a tight fitting glass lid you can successfully prevent jumpers, and only if you had a tank without glass lids will you know just how much fish jump.

In 30 years of fish keeping, I have broken one glass lid, and it was easily replaced. However, if you are worried about breaking glass lids, consider transparent polyethylene instead of glass. Transparent sheets of polyethylene are not cheap, but unlike glass they are virtually unbreakable. They also don't warp when used as fish tank lids, which is what makes acrylic unsuitable for that purpose.

In summary, I am all for aquarium canopies, but they are a useful addition to a tight fitting glass lids, not a replacement!
 

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Wow, do you think they're against glass canopies? Not like they have an agenda to sell you anything else right? :roll:

FWIW, I use glass lids over my 125 with a canopy as well. Best of both worlds IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is really helpful.

Part of what has had me considering the canopy as a substitute is that my 6 foot tank doesn't have a brace and will likely bow slightly (it wasn't intended to have a brace so I'm not worried about the tank holding up). I am expecting that the glass lids will not sit flush, although I don't know this for sure. The glass lids that come with the tank are also a bit of a PITA to install so I was trying to see if there was a way of avoiding this task...sounds like there isn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DrgRcr said:
Wow, do you think they're against glass canopies? Not like they have an agenda to sell you anything else right? :roll:
My girlfriend is opposed to the canopy and I had her read the article. She said the same thing as you. :)
 

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zimmy said:
Part of what has had me considering the canopy as a substitute is that my 6 foot tank doesn't have a brace and will likely bow slightly (it wasn't intended to have a brace so I'm not worried about the tank holding up). I am expecting that the glass lids will not sit flush, although I don't know this for sure. The glass lids that come with the tank are also a bit of a PITA to install so I was trying to see if there was a way of avoiding this task...sounds like there isn't.
My 6' 125G is exactly like that, and bowing is a non issue. The glass lids I have are kinda cool - one big piece in the middle that needs to be installed first. The two outer parts are hinged, and rest on the middle part. Once you get used to them, they work just fine :thumb:

Nevertheless, I also built a canopy for that tank. OK, I am kinda tall, but I have no trouble taking that canopy off the tank by myself and putting it back on. It is very light.

Only for the one on my 8' 240G, I need somebody else to give me a hand. However, in five years I have taken that thing off only once, and that was to replace the ballast in one of the rear lights. I had my dad there the help and it seemed easier, but I can do all maintenance in that tank with the canopy in place. It is actually nice to be able to have the tank lights on even when the tank is open.

Again, I am all for canopies, but only in addition to glass lids. And by the way, I would never trust info from a site that advocates a 'maintenance free aquarium' or discourages people from doing regular water changes in any way. :wink:
 

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No doubt the better half added the fern to the canopy you built? :wink:

Never fails...

Removing my canopy from my 4' tank is no big deal once I remove all of the knick-knacks, etc that the wife added.... :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Frank, the glass lid you have looks really sensible. Mine, not so much. It's in three sections, like yours, but is a sliding door system with the two outside sections fitting in with the middle one. To install it, I think I'm going to have to put it all together on the floor and then somehow place the three part six foot long arrangement onto the lip of the tank. Not a good design if you ask me.

I got some advice on another thread to silicone some glass braces onto the top just so that putting the lid on is a little easier. It's the route I'll likely need to go.
 

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Well with me I agree with them about the canopy,I have a canopy myself ,I had a glass canopy before but if u think about the lakes and the oceans don’t have a glass over it,and u also get the best oxygen from the air itself,but hey to each its on,think about this tho,in a reef tank ,most of the hobbies don’t have a glass top,in the aquariums like in Georgia ,Tennessee ,New Orleans ,in Spain etc.etc. they don’t have a glass top on there's ,soooo look at that...well that's my opinion ,peace no glass canopy for me,o by the whey been in the hobby for awhile ,best of both worlds. Peace !!!! :fish:
 

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cantrell00 said:
No doubt the better half added the fern to the canopy you built? :wink:
Ha - not so. To the contrary, my wife made me take that fern off the tank, because she didn't like it there. While my wife isn't into fish, plants are a shared hobby for us. When we moved to the US from Australia, we bought a huge load of pot plants - K-Mart special :thumb: - before we even had a chair to sit on, let alone a TV or radio. On one of our first nights in Ohio, my wife's new employer came over with his wife to check on us. There we were, sitting on the carpet in an empty house, but surrounded by a dozen huge pot plants. His wife just looked as the mess and said: "ah, I guess you found the shops" :lol:

zimmy said:
To install it, I think I'm going to have to put it all together on the floor and then somehow place the three part six foot long arrangement onto the lip of the tank.
Couldn't you just slide it all together in the open position? Should make it a lot shorter than 6'.

zimmy said:
I got some advice on another thread to silicone some glass braces onto the top just so that putting the lid on is a little easier. It's the route I'll likely need to go.
The nice thing about having no braces is that you can have very large decoration pieces like driftwood or rocks. That piece of driftwood I have in the tank would not fit in a tank with center brace.

@ jimmie - in practice oxygen exchange is no problem even with tight fitting glass lids. The lids are never that tight, and in a sump system Durso type drain pipes will suck air into the water like no tomorrow. That effect can be replicated with a canister filter by using an Eheim Diffusor, or if you rely on HOB filters by adding a power head with venturi feature. At any rate, the issue is getting the oxygen in the water. Under the glass lids it will go by itself.

On the other hand, evaporation is a very real issue. The last tank I had fully open was a 5G with the footprint of a standard 10G. In summer I needed to top of a quart every other day! I guess in the oceans and lakes nobody worries about that, because nobody has to heat them :lol:

In addition, we all want to get some moisture into the atmosphere so we can enjoy some rain, but I certainly don't want to get so much moisture into my house that it rains - as much as my beloved pot plants might enjoy it! :wink:

In large public aquariums having glass lids is simply not practicable, even if it might be desirable. I am sure they have other, and rather costly, ways of dealing with the resulting humidity. But they are in buildings built for that purpose, not in a private home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
fmueller said:
zimmy said:
To install it, I think I'm going to have to put it all together on the floor and then somehow place the three part six foot long arrangement onto the lip of the tank.
Couldn't you just slide it all together in the open position? Should make it a lot shorter than 6'.
I didn't describe it well. The three sections open front to back. Even in the open position, the arrangement is six feet long. I'll probably need the help of two other people to set it in place. Can be done, but, as I said, a PITA...especially if I need to remove it with any frequency to move rocks.
 

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My last canopy was in 1980 I don't miss it.
They look great - no doubt but I have found myself with mine off more than on.. With Mbuna, there is always reasoning to have to "adjust" someone's attitude & pulling the canopy on & off, etc.. is a pain.

I like what the reef guys are doing now.. Rimless tanks with suspended pendant lamps from the ceiling ... Viewing fish from above is cool as well...



Obviously, fish taking flight is a big risk in these type of tanks not to mention the loss of water due to evaporation... They only see the loss in their sump.. With the heat generated by the halides - it has to be significant...
 

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cantrell00 said:
They look great - no doubt but I have found myself with mine off more than on.. With Mbuna, there is always reasoning to have to "adjust" someone's attitude & pulling the canopy on & off, etc.. is a pain.
My first tank was set up in my parents' living room. It had a canopy that you needed to take off every time you wanted to reach in the tank. The only other access was via a little feeding hole, but you could only put in food through that tiny hole. Even to top off water, the whole canopy needed to be removed - or if you wanted to remove a dead plant leave, or adjust a rock, or some such thing. The canopy was also very heavy. I got the tank at age 10, and it took several years before I could take it off by myself. I kinda assumed nobody had canopies like that anymore, because I have not seen one in so long.


Old fashioned canopy, allowing virtually no tank access without removing the entire canopy.

The canopy on my 240G allows full access to the tank with the canopy in place. It is no problem for me to take out the glass lids and removable rocks, and then catch a 12" frontosa - all with the canopy in place and keeping the tanks lights on so I can see what I am doing. I wouldn't use a canopy that does not allow this.



Modern canopy, allowing virtually unlimited tank access without the need to removie the canopy, and with the tank lights in place.

cantrell00 said:
I like what the reef guys are doing now.. Rimless tanks with suspended pendant lamps from the ceiling ... Viewing fish from above is cool as well...

Obviously, fish taking flight is a big risk in these type of tanks not to mention the loss of water due to evaporation... They only see the loss in their sump.. With the heat generated by the halides - it has to be significant...
The look is fantastic, but it is born out of necessity exactly due to the heat of the halides. If you enclose them in a canopy, they will heat up the tank to boiling!

Also, there are only a couple of slow moving, bottom dwelling fish in that tank. All the rest are corals and invertebrates that don't move much. If you put cichlids in that tank, they'll be sailing half way across the room before you know it. If I lost a Frontosa every time I hear one hit the glass tops when it tries to jump, my colony would have been gone years ago.

I have a 125G without braces that I would love to run open. I'd love to do the Takashi Amano thing on a smaller scale:


Possibly the most famous open-top freshwater tank, designed my aquascaping guru Takashi Amano.

Luckily I tried out the concept on a 5G first. You are right, being able to see the fish from above was a huge part of the attraction of that tank, but the jumpers and evaporation convinced me to stay away from an open design for a larger tank.


My open-top half-ten-gallon shellie tank.
 

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jimmie said:
but if u think about the lakes and the oceans don’t have a glass over it,and u also get the best oxygen from the air itself,
...And aquariums aren't fed by lakes, rivers and rainfall.

Apples to oranges.

kevin
 

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Yeah...

An analogy of the absurd for sure...
 

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man yeah do yall thing I still think its best with a canopy and open top ,but o well handle yall business...peace :) :thumb:
 

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Sorry to dig up a topic that is almost 1 year old, but I had some questions about glass lids vs Canopies and figured I'd search for info before I posed a question to the board, and I happened to come across this older post that already answered some of the main questions I had.

But one thing I am wondering still. fmueller mentions that the wood will eventually warp/discolor in a canopy when a lid of some sort is not used, which makes sense. But I have seen some saltwater guys use 1-2 small computer case fans in their canopies to stop condensation. Has anyone tried that to see if it would prevent wood warpage/discoloration?
 
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